16 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Letter LONDON, 2 January 1940

I am afraid I must inflict upon you a somewhat lengthy letter with regard to the question of war aims or what might perhaps more appropriately be described as 'peace aims'.

This matter was raised by the French communication of the 23rd October which was transmitted to you in Dominions Office cable D.52. [1] You will recollect that in that communication the French Government suggested that an early exchange of views with His Majesty's Government would be desirable on the problem of Allied war aims.

On the 26th October I sent you a long cablegram on the matter and suggested that you might take steps to initiate Dominion consultation by direct communications to the other Dominion Prime Ministers. [2] This you did in your cablegram of the 29th October addressed to the Prime Minister here, and which you repeated to the other Dominion Prime Ministers. [3]

Following upon your cablegram the Prime Minister of New Zealand sent a long telegram on the 5th November setting out the views of his Government. [4] On the 14th November you sent a further cablegram amplifying your previous one [5] and on the 26th November the Prime Minister of Canada [6] sent a very full telegram analysing the position in very considerable detail.

On the 31st October, the Prime Minister of South Africa cabled stressing the importance of this matter both in peace and war, urging that fullest consultation should take place, and indicating that he proposed to send the views of his Government later. [7]

These views he has not yet sent but on the 11th November he sent you a cablegram which showed that he was in complete sympathy with your cable and finished with the words 'Every care should also be taken to prevent us going to another Versailles peace.' [8]

The opinions of the Prime Ministers of the Dominions contained in the communications referred to above showed a remarkable unanimity. In your cablegram you expressed the view that- 'The immediate object is to win the war and to win it in no uncertain way since a patched up and premature peace would inevitably expose us to a future of serious events similar to those of the past few years.' [9]

This statement of yours broadly coincides with the views expressed by all your fellow Prime Ministers. You go on, however, to ask the pertinent question What comes after victory? and make it clear that you do not believe future peace can be secured by suppressing and dismembering Germany or imposing upon her an insupportable burden. Here again you broadly express the views of the other Dominions as disclosed by their respective cables.

As a result of the various communications from the Dominion Prime Ministers, it was decided that before serious discussions were opened with the French there should be full Empire consultation.

It was accordingly determined that an interim reply should be sent to the French and one, which I personally consider might well have been substantially shortened, was eventually agreed after consultation with the Dominions, and has, I understand, been despatched in the last few days.

This reply, as I have indicated above, is of an interim character and contemplates oral and private discussions taking place at a suitable opportunity.

Before these discussions can be undertaken Empire consultations will have to take place and in such consultations the question of the method of handling the French in the oral and private discussions will have to be determined. In considering this point it is necessary to have very clearly in mind the different views which are held upon this all important matter. In my long telegram to you of the 26th October, I set them out in some detail and it might perhaps be useful if I summarised very briefly what I then said.

There are two opposing schools of thought upon the question of what form of peace settlement we should endeavour to achieve.

These two schools of thought might be described as:-

(a) Those who visualise a world after the war very similar to that which existed before it, but with Germany disarmed and Europe freed from the fear of future further German aggression, and (b) Those who visualise a new world in which Germany would play an appropriate part as a great nation resulting from a peace settlement which had faced the vital problem of disarmament, territorial adjustments, Colonies and the economic needs of all nations.

It is felt in many quarters here that these two points of view are so diametrically opposed that it would be most dangerous to encourage discussion of the question because such discussion would tend to create division in the united front that exists at present. The United Kingdom Government is consequently very fearful of tackling the question and they are particularly fearful of doing so with the French who are regarded as super-exponents of the defeat, disarm, and divide idea.

I feel, however, that this attitude is an extremely dangerous one, as by avoiding any discussions in order to ensure unity for the purpose of winning the war we may very well leave ourselves in a position where when the question of peace comes to be discussed divisions will appear that will result in our losing the peace. I feel, also, that the idea that this question is an extremely dangerous one is open to considerable doubt. There is agreement between all schools of thought upon the two fundamental questions that the war must be won and that the peace must ensure that the fear of future aggression is removed from the world.

I am by no means unconscious of the difficulties that will confront us when we come to the consideration of the question of how we are to achieve the second of these objectives. I feel, however, very strongly that if this difficult problem is approached in an atmosphere that suggests that there are fundamental and almost unbridgeable differences to be overcome there would be every danger of serious friction arising and division resulting. If, on the other hand, discussions are undertaken in an atmosphere that no differences of opinion of a fundamental character exist, and that our task is to consider the most practical and effective means whereby our common objective can be achieved, I have considerable confidence that agreement could be arrived at.

If this view is correct it is obviously desirable that the discussions with the French should take place at the earliest practicable date. Before such discussions can be opened it is necessary, however, that there should be agreement between the Governments of the different parts of the Empire. In order to bring this about further consultation will be necessary and as at the present moment there is no indication that the United Kingdom Government is intending to take the initiative in bringing such consultation about, I suggest that it is desirable that you should raise the question.

In the Empire discussions the practical problems which have to be faced will emerge but as they will be identical with the problems which will have to be discussed with the French, it would probably be more useful if I dealt with them in visualising the line I suggest we should take with the French.

In these conversations we should commence by making quite clear that we regard the essential war aims as being to win the war and after it is won to ensure that German aggression will be rendered impossible in the future. This opening should go a long way to calm the fears the French unquestionably entertain and to create the right atmosphere. In the discussions the French should be encouraged to develop their thesis as to how the second of these two major objectives can be achieved. As the French develop their views it seems to me inevitable that the impracticability of permanently maintaining peace and preventing aggression by the armed strength of the United Kingdom and France will emerge. As the impracticability of this method is demonstrated, I think it will be possible progressively to wean the French from what is clearly their present attitude. My reasons for holding this view are based on the points set out below, all of which would emerge in the discussion.

One point upon which there will be complete agreement is that Germany having been defeated she must be disarmed and having been disarmed effective means must be provided of ensuring that she does not rearm in defiance of her Peace Treaty undertakings.

Experience has shown the difficulty, in face of resolute and unscrupulous leadership, of ensuring the continuance of a great nation in a state of disarmament in an armed world.

It would, however, unquestionably be argued that this danger could be met by the United Kingdom and France maintaining the forces necessary to prevent German rearmament.

It would also possibly be suggested that as an additional safeguard Germany should be broken up into several independent areas, thus removing the danger inherent in the vast population of a united Germany.

It is necessary to consider these two points separately. The obligation involved in ensuring that Germany remained disarmed would probably on first examination not be regarded as serious as it would be suggested that once Germany has been defeated the Forces necessary to ensure Allied predominance would not be large and that the United Kingdom and France could easily undertake the responsibility. Such an argument takes little account of Russia or of Italy and Japan, nor does it make allowances for the probable frictions in south-eastern Europe.

RUSSIA. The emergence of Russia from an absorption on [sic] internal affairs into a markedly militaristic and even Imperialistic country may prove to be a factor of the utmost moment.

In the event of a German defeat or even of a prolonged military stalemate there is considerable probability of a rapid spread of Bolshevism in Germany. In addition, countries such as Hungary and Rumania, with their numerical preponderance of poverty stricken peasants, must be regarded as ripe for communism.

After an Allied victory, followed by a dictated peace, the frontiers of Bolshevism might be greatly extended and might include a great part of Central and south-eastern Europe. If this vast area were under the control of an aggressive Russia, the military responsibilities of the Allies, after the war, if peace was to be maintained and aggression prevented, would be enormous.

ITALY AND JAPAN. Both these countries have great armed strength and both have known ambitions which constitute them as potential aggressors. In considering the Forces that France and the United Kingdom would have to maintain, the dangers to world peace which might come from these countries would have to be borne in mind.

DANUBE AND THE BALKANS. There are many difficult problems to be solved in this part of the world. With Germany defeated, disarmed, and possibly dismembered, it can be argued that the Anglo-French Military combination would be strong enough to dictate peaceful settlements of these problems. While with Russia indifferent or quiescent this might be practicable, with Russia strong and actively concerning herself in the problems of the Danube and Balkans, it would be impossible.

The foregoing considerations indicate that if responsibility for the maintenance of peace and the removal of the fear of aggression from the world is to be undertaken by the Allies after they have defeated and disarmed Germany, they would have to maintain Forces at least substantially larger than those which existed at the outbreak of the war. It is therefore necessary to consider the probable reactions of the Allied countries to the maintenance of Forces of such a magnitude.

FRANCE. While there is a large volume of opinion in France to-day in favour of the idea of a repressive policy against Germany, it is doubtful whether after the war is over the country as a whole will be prepared to shoulder the burden involved in giving effect to such a policy. The present unity of France is due to the pressing danger with which she is confronted. Once this danger is removed the Left Wing parties will reassert their demands for greater social justice, for enlarged social services, and for the curtailment of the powers of finance, industry and the high command, with the probable result of the recreation in France of a position similar to that which existed during the regime of the Front Populaire.

UNITED KINGDOM. In the United Kingdom it will be quite impossible to maintain a repressive policy towards Germany for more than the shortest period, if at all. There is certain to be a strong body of opinion demanding magnanimous treatment for the defeated enemy.

There will be an invincible reluctance to tolerate large scale military expenditure and national memories being notoriously short, any Government which attempted to do so would inevitably be defeated.

DOMINIONS. In the Dominions the idea of the acceptance of permanent military responsibility for policing Europe would encounter overwhelming opposition. It is no exaggeration to say that if the United Kingdom after the war adopted a policy of repression against Germany and the maintenance of great armed Forces, the Dominions would refuse to accept such a policy and the first step would be taken towards the disintegration of the Empire.

The other argument which has to be considered is that Germany should be divided into several independent areas.

This suggestion, apart from its political significance, raises economic considerations of the most important character.

The economic position after the war, with which I deal later, is of vital concern to victors, vanquished and neutrals.

The experience of the past 20 years has demonstrated how interdependent the world economic system has become and that poverty and instability in one country undermines the economic position of others.

The destruction of the German economic unit would have particularly disastrous repercussions. Germany both as a market and as a source of supplies is the third most important country in the world.

Moreover she constitutes the principal market for the Agricultural exports of south-eastern Europe and of a considerable portion of those from the Baltic and Scandinavia.

The dislocation that would be caused by throwing the products of south-eastern Europe on to the world's markets has been very clearly shown during the present war, when the necessity of replacing the German market has proved an almost insoluble problem and has involved the Allies, and particularly the United Kingdom, in the assumption of an intolerable financial burden.

In considering the possibility of dividing Germany into several independent States it has to be borne in mind that the serious economic depression which would result would inevitably drive the Germans towards communism.

Apart from the menace of a communistic Germany to the rest of Europe, the reinforcement of communism by German efficiency and skill would have the effect of greatly strengthening its menace.

It therefore seems clear that if Germany were divided it would be necessary to allow the new States so created to enter into an economic and commercial union. With this close economic and commercial link the possibility of co-operative action for rearmament and revenge would still exist.

The result of the above examination shows the impracticability of peace being maintained and aggression prevented by the armed strength of the United Kingdom and France, even with Germany disarmed, and possibly dismembered.

Summarised the reasons why a policy of repression is impracticable are:-

1. It involves heavy and continuing military commitments for the United Kingdom and France which neither nation will permanently accept.

2. It makes no provision for dealing with the Russian, Italian or Japanese problems. Neither does it provide any solution for the Danube countries and the Balkans.

3. It would inevitably lead to a resurgence of extreme German nationalism with the almost inevitable consequence of another war within the next 25 years.

4. It provides no solution for the economic difficulties which confronted the world prior to the present war and which will be intensified after its termination. In fact it would create an economic position which would foster such a spread of communism as would render all the efforts of the Allies in the war nugatory.

5. It would inevitably lead to friction with the Dominions, if not the disruption of the Empire, and to estrangement from the United States of America.

6. In addition to the considerations in (5) it would from a Dominion standpoint lead to a further diminution of world's markets with a consequent limitation of their economic development.

When this picture emerges in the course of the discussion I think it is certain that there would be agreement that a policy of repression is impracticable and consideration would be given to an alternative method of achieving the great objectives of maintaining peace and freeing the world from the fear of aggression after the war.

In the discussion as to an alternative method, the first point that would emerge would be that some form of limitation or reduction of armaments is essential. This point would be reinforced by the fact that there would be general agreement that the progressive race in armaments has unquestionably led to the present war and that it has become increasingly clear that the burden of armaments is destroying nations financially and economically.

The consideration of the question of armaments would be on the assumption that Germany having been conquered was disarmed. It would then be necessary to consider how far a limitation or reduction of armaments can be brought about between the other nations. On first examination it would appear that Germany being disarmed, Britain and France could reduce the burden of their armaments. This, however, would immediately raise the question of how far Russia, Japan, Italy and the Danube and Balkan countries would be prepared to co-operate. An examination of the probabilities in respect of these countries is not very promising.

The consideration of the position of Russia suggests that it is extremely unlikely that the Soviet would be prepared to agree. The case of Japan is more doubtful as considerable pressure could be put upon her, possibly in association with the United States of America, once Britain and France were freed from the obligations which at present fetter their actions in the Far East. Japan's agreement, however, could only be obtained if she were relieved from the menace of Russia and the position in the Far East had been sorted out in such a way as to afford to Japan a reasonable opportunity to live and provide for her growing population.

With the overwhelming strength that France and the United Kingdom would possess at the end of a victorious war, Italy could probably be forced to agree but the measure of pressure that could with decency be imposed on Italy would be dependent upon what it had been possible to do with Russia. The Danube and Balkan countries would present a considerable problem which it would obviously be impossible to solve with a strong and aggressive Russia intervening in these areas. In any event a disarmament agreement in these countries could only follow upon the sorting out of many difficult territorial and racial questions.

Assuming, however, that the many difficult political problems I have indicated above could be resolved and agreement obtained among the nations to another disarmament conference, it is necessary to consider the problems that would have to be faced when such a conference was held.

The experience of the Disarmament Conference forces the realisation of how great are the difficulties in attempting to find bases upon which a reduction or limitation of national Armies, Navies and Air Forces can be brought about.

Even if a temporary basis for adjustment could be found how far could we rely upon nations observing their undertakings and in the event of their not doing so how would it be contemplated they should be forced to honour their obligations. The idea of sanctions, either economic or military, must be discarded in the light of the experience with regard to the provisions of the Covenant of the League of Nations.

In considering this question internal politics cannot be ignored.

Is it not inevitable that in individual countries political parties would spring up maintaining that the rights of the country had been sacrificed by the Government and demanding a reconsideration of the Disarmament Agreement.

An even greater danger is that unless present indications are wholly misleading, we shall encounter, after the war, in the more advanced countries, as in 1922-1930, a strong pacifist movement.

Democratic Governments will probably be affected and will reduce armaments below the safety level. In less advanced countries pacifist pressure will be resisted and once again we shall find the advanced Democracies in a position of relative weakness.

The discussion of the points I have indicated above would, I think, inevitably lead to the conclusion that so many problems and difficulties would have to be overcome in order to bring about agreement for either the limitation or reduction of national armaments that such a policy is impracticable. When faced with this impasse, the discussion would inevitably tend towards the consideration of the possibilities of the substitution of an International Force for national armaments. This suggestion should be sympathetically received by the French as both in 1919 and at the Disarmament Conference they put forward proposals of this character. The obvious starting point of any such discussion would be the consideration of the possibility of the abolition of national Air armaments and their replacement by an International Air Force.

Such a proposal does not create insuperable practical difficulties. It has been ventilated from time to time and has received a considerable measure of support even from quarters which in respect to Land and Sea Forces will not listen to the suggestion of their internationalisation. It therefore appears to me possible that acceptance of the idea of an International Air Force is not out of the question.

Even if nothing more could be achieved this would be a tremendous step forward. It seems to me, however, that it would be a pity to rest content with this achievement only. With Land and Sea Forces continuing on a national basis all the difficulties I have indicated above would still bar the way to agreement for the limitation or reduction of these forms of armaments. If no reduction or limitation of them can be brought about the nations will still have to bear financial and economic burdens involved in competing armaments. This burden would prevent the financial and economic reconstruction to which I refer later and which is so vital to the well-being of the whole of mankind.

It therefore seems to me essential that having obtained agreement to the principle of an International Air Force an effort should be made to break down the opposition of those who are opposed to the extension of the principle to Land and Sea Forces. The argument of those who are so opposed is that it is essential that Britain should have a great Navy, and France a great Army, in order to strengthen the voice of the two great Democracies in the councils of the nations.

An examination of this argument, however, I suggest shows that there is not a great deal in it. If Air Armaments have disappeared on a national basis and an International Police Force has been created, the effectiveness of the strongest Navy and the strongest Army would be relatively small, particularly if developments in the Air are to be of a character such as the experience of the last few years would lead us to expect. It can therefore be very well argued that for Britain to maintain a great Navy and France a great Army is merely saddling those two nations with a great unnecessary financial burden which would place them at a serious economic disadvantage with the other nations of the world.

Even, however, if this is true the burden would have to be borne unless in giving effect to the ambitious project of the internationalisation of armaments the insuperable difficulties in bringing about a limitation or reduction of national armaments already referred to can be overcome. In order to determine this it would probably be convenient to examine the principal countries and areas in the same way as was done with regard to the limitation or reduction of armaments, but to take them in a somewhat different order.

ITALY. The acquiescence of Italy, save under the pressure of force majeure, would be dependent upon whether or not her national ambitions could be reasonably satisfied.

In a world from which national armaments had been banished there would appear to be no insuperable difficulty in doing this.

Strategic considerations would no longer play a paramount part and Italy's demands would probably not be so extensive or so unreasonable as to be impossible of acceptance.

JAPAN. As in the case of Italy, Japan's national aspirations could probably be met. By this I do not mean the realisation of her dream of a predominance of an all powerful Japan in the Far East.

What I do mean is the satisfaction of her requirements for adequate commercial outlets so as to enable her to maintain her rapidly growing population. These requirements could be met by the rehabilitation of an independent China with the financial assistance of the nations of the world, particularly of the United Kingdom and the United States of America, in which Japan would be afforded specific rights in connection with the supply of consumption goods and by granting to her equality of opportunity for her commerce in the non-self-governing portions of the world.

DANUBE AND BALKANS. In these areas the main problems that have to be resolved are territorial and racial. While national armaments continue to exist and strategic frontiers are of paramount importance these problems are well-nigh insuperable. With the disappearance of national armaments these problems would be tremendously simplified and the way would be opened for their settlement on economic and ethnological grounds. If a basis could be found for a fair settlement of these territorial and racial problems it should be possible to obtain the acquiescence of the Danubian and Balkan States although a certain amount of pressure and compulsion might be required in the first instance.

RUSSIA. The Soviet presents much more formidable difficulties and yet is of vital importance because of its repercussions upon Italy, Japan and the Balkan and Danubian States.

It seems improbable that, if there were virtual world agreement for the internationalisation of armaments and the creation of an International Police Force to maintain security and prevent aggression, Russia would stand aloof. If, however, she did so it is unthinkable that the world should be debarred by her intransigence from following a course which the nations were agreed was essential for their security and well-being.

Such an attitude by Russia would have to be countered by the organisation of the International Police Force upon such a basis as to prevent aggression or interference by Russia either in Europe or in the Far East.

GERMANY. Having been disarmed after having been conquered in the war, Germany would presumably welcome the internationalisation of armaments because it would immediately place her on an equality with all the other nations of the world.

From the point of view of the other nations the creation of an International Police Force would free them from the necessity of ensuring, by their individual efforts, that she observed the terms of the Peace Treaty.

While I do not minimise the difficulties of giving effect to so daring and revolutionary a proposal as the abolition of national armaments and the substitution for them of an International Police Force, I believe those difficulties are not so far reaching and insuperable as those which would be encountered in attempting to bring about a limitation or reduction of national armaments.

However great they may be they have got to be faced and overcome if the world is to be saved from chaos.

Unless some method can be found of affording security to the world and at the same time of relieving the nations of the financial and economic burden of competitive armaments, civilisation as we have known it is doomed.

In the 25 years since the termination of the 1914-1918 war, the world has several times been on the brink of financial and economic disaster and looking back over those years it seems little short of a miracle that it has survived. No thinking person cm believe that with the innumerable additional complications and difficulties which the present war will have added it will be possible to avert the disaster which we have so narrowly escaped in the past, save by bold constructive action.

In face of such a situation we cannot be fearful of even the most revolutionary thinking.

Assuming the acceptance of the principle of the abolition of national armaments and the creation of an International Police Force, we have to consider how this Police Force would be controlled and what form of International machinery for dealing effectively with political problems between nations would have to be created.

The first question to be considered is whether the necessary organisation should be upon a world or a regional basis. The League of Nations was conceived upon a world basis and has failed.

This failure, however, was not necessarily due to the fact that the League was a world wide organisation, but was due to other causes which there is little advantage in dealing with now. It is possible that with the new conception of a limitation of the sovereignty of individual States a world Political organisation could be set up. Such a proposal would, however, encounter opposition in the United States of America and it is doubtful whether a world wide organisation would deal as effectively with the problems of Europe, of the Pacific, or of Central America, as a more limited organisation under which the nations most directly concerned undertook responsibility for the maintenance of regional security and the settlement of regional difficulties. Were the regional idea adopted there might at the outset be four regions:-

1. Europe, including the Mediterranean, 2. The Americas, 3. The Pacific, including the Far East, and 4. The U.S.S.R.

This division would leave out Africa, apart from the territories bordering on the Mediterranean, and India and the Middle East.

Consideration would be required as to how these areas should be dealt with. The basis of regional co-operation would be complete national disarmament save for clearly defined and lightly armed Police Forces and the assumption by the whole region of responsibility for security against external attack and the maintenance of peace within the region. In each region a regional council would be set up consisting of representatives of each national State within the region. This Council would be responsible for supervising national disarmament, the suppression of national production of armaments and for the control of a regional force consisting mainly of an Air Force and probably a Navy and particularly in regard to Europe a highly mobilised mechanised Land Force.

This Council would either itself or through the machinery it created deal with all disputes arising within the region. The International Force to be maintained by the individual regions would probably not be very great, although in Europe substantial armed forces would probably have to be maintained in order to afford a sense of security to the nations which had accepted national disarmament and possibly owing to the necessity of being in a position to safeguard the European States against any action by Russia. Certain countries would need to become members of, and to accept the obligations of membership in, more than one region.

For example, the United Kingdom would obviously have to be a member of both the European and Pacific Regions and the United States of America of the American and Pacific Regions. It would also be necessary that arrangements should exist between the different regions for co-operation in the event of one region being externally menaced.

The suggested organisation on a regional basis is based upon the idea that questions such as security, disarmament, the organisation of the International Police Force and the settlement of territorial and political problems can best be dealt with in this way. If, however, a satisfactory peace settlement is to be achieved it is necessary also to deal with economic and social questions as well as the difficult problem of Colonies. The settlement of the Colonial issue is a matter of vital concern to nations in all quarters of the globe. Trade is essentially international, and the repercussions of finance even more markedly so. Social questions such as health and standards of living are of concern to all nations and know no national boundaries. Moreover the solution of world economic and social problems requires the collaboration of all persons of good will in every country and in particular the co-operation of the United States of America.

For these reasons it seems essential that economic and social questions and the Colonial issue should be dealt with on a world and not a regional basis. The necessary organisation might well be provided by the Economic and Social Organisations of the League of Nations and the International Labour Office. If under the peace settlement political questions are dealt with on a regional basis, the United States of America would almost certainly be prepared to give its adherence and there would appear to be no insuperable difficulty in Germany, Italy and Japan returning to such a reconstituted League.

The Secretariat of the Health and Economic Organisations of the League of Nations and of the International Labour Office possess considerable accumulated experience and it would be a serious form of international waste not to utilise this existing machinery.

The responsibilities for the World economic and social organisations would include- Non-self-governing territories.

The supervision of a progressive internationalisation of the position of Colonies, Protectorates and Mandated Territories.

The process of internationalisation might take the following form:-

The existing Colonial Powers to agree in the Peace settlement, in the case of Colonies already far advanced towards self-government, either to grant complete fiscal autonomy and thereafter to expedite the progress towards self-government, or to agree- 1. Immediately to institute an 'open door' regime in their Colonies for trade and for economic opportunities including contracts.

2. That a Commission established by the World Organisation should supervise the 'open-ness of the door'.

3. To treat their Colonies and Protectorates as Mandates and to submit reports to the proposed Commission.

4. Progressively to internationalise the Administration and other public services.

5. To accept the principle that the World Organisation should through its Commission undertake a progressively increasing degree of the responsibilities for the Government.

Under such a policy the possession of Colonies would cease to have any importance from the standpoint of strategy, prestige, or economics. It would also assure to all nations that the responsibilities to be borne on behalf of, and benefits to be derived from, the non-self-governing territories should become within a reasonable period international.

A settlement of the Colonial question on this basis would go far to remove the grievances of the so called 'have not' countries, which have contributed to the rise of Totalitarian regimes and explain, in part at least, the aggressions of Japan and Italy.

It is necessary, however, to deal with the grievances of individuals as well as with those of nations. Before the series of European political crises deflected men's minds from internal affairs there was growing an insistent, and even menacing, demand from the poorer classes for a more equitable share in national wealth. For example, the Front Populaire in France and the 'New Deal' in the United States of America. This demand will arise again after the war in an even more insistent form.

The peace settlement should be made the starting point of an internationally concerted attack upon the problems of poverty and the methods whereby there can be a greater utilisation of the discoveries of science. Problems of health will also have to be faced. In addition the paramount questions of the readjustment from war time to peace economic structures and the restoration of the economic and social life of countries severely damaged as a result of the war will have to be faced. All these matters are of transcending importance and it is no exaggeration to say upon how they are dealt with depends the future of the world and the well- being of mankind.

As you know, ever since the World Monetary and Economic Conference of 1933, these matters have progressively been my main preoccupation. I have, however, inflicted so long a letter upon you that I do not propose to add to it by dealing with them now in the way that their importance demands.

I will, however, by a subsequent mail send you some thoughts of a detailed character on the economic and social problems that I feel have to be faced.

In any event the object of this letter is to raise with you the desirability of early Empire consultation with a view to the oral and personal discussions contemplated with the French which obviously at the commencement will be concerned with political problems rather than economic and social ones.

With kind regards and many apologies for the wearisome length of this letter. [10]

1 Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. II, Document 307.

2 ibid., Document 308.

3 ibid., Document 311.

4 ibid., Document 326.

5 ibid., Document 359.

6 W. L. Mackenzie King. His telegram is in PRO: DO 114/113.

7 Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. II, Document 318.

8 ibid., Document 366. It was in fact sent on 16 November 1939.

9 ibid., Document 311.

10 The original letter received by Menzies has not been found.

This copy from the Bruce papers has some handwritten alterations by Bruce's Economic Adviser, F. L. McDougall. It also has a line drawn in the margin starting at the passage beginning 'The consideration of the question of armaments would be on the assumption that Germany having been conquered was disarmed. . .' and ending seven paragraphs later with '. . . once again we shall find the advanced Democracies in a position of relative weakness'.

The alterations have not been incorporated in the version printed here as it is not possible to tell when they were made, although the sidelining suggests McDougall may subsequently have used this copy for another purpose. They are alterations of expression only, and not of substance.

It is believed that the letter was dispatched by air mail and it has accordingly been placed in this collection on the assumption that it was received in Canberra some ten days after dispatch.

[AA: M100, JANUARY 1940]